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Myanmar troops attack, thousands flee to China

The fighting was between the Myanmar Armed Forces (also known as Tatmadaw; the army of Burma’s military junta government) and several ethnic minorities. As a result of the conflict, at least 10,000 refugees are thought to have fled to Yunnan province in neighboring China.

By 20 August, however, government troops were beginning to gather near Laukkai, and Kaokang leaders reportedly urged residents to “be prepared”, which prompted even more people to flee.

On 24 August, junta troops captured and occupied Laukkai “without firing a shot”. The anti-junta Kachin News claimed that the takeover was aided by a “mutiny” staged by Kokang army leaders who had become loyal to the junta. Read More…

On this day August 8, 1988

The 8888 Uprising, a series of marches, demonstrations, protests, and riots against the one-party state of the Burma Socialist Programme Party in Burma, began.

Protesters gathering in central Rangoon, 1988

Protesters gathering in central Rangoon, 1988

Since 1962, the country was ruled by the Burma Socialist Programme Party regime as a one-party state, headed by General Ne Win.

The catastrophic Burmese Way to Socialism had turned Burma into one of the world’s most impoverished countries.

Almost everything was nationalized and the government combined Soviet-style of central planning with superstitious beliefs. Read More…

Cyclone Nargis aid effort to cost one billion US$

According to a new report released jointly by the Government of the Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations (UN), the cost of providing aid and funding reconstruction after Cyclone Nargis will be US $1 billion over the next three years.

ASEAN said in a press release that Cyclone Nargis was the “most devastating natural disaster in Myanmar’s history”. They also say that the cyclone had a “similar scale of impact to that of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Indonesia in 2004”. 84,530 died in the cyclone and 53,836 remain missing.

The study also reported that a high number of families are in need of shelter due to the destruction of their property by the cyclone. It says that 57% of people had their home completely destroyed by the cyclone, whilst only 2% of people had no damage to their home.

On May 9, the United Nations requested $187 million in aid for Myanmar, but this figure has increased as the full extent of the damage has been revealed. The amount of donations were several times bigger than the requested amount. By 15 June, around 12 billion kyat, or two billion dollars in donations had already been received by the government of Myanmar, according to the report.

Myanmar finally allow foreign aids

Satellite photographs showing the region before and after the cyclone. Image: NASA

After traveling in-person to Myanmar, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-moon, has announced that international aid-workers will be granted access to the cyclone-ravaged country.

Ban, who met with Senior General Than Shwe, considered the head of Myanmar’s military junta, told reporters, “I had a very good meeting with the senior general, particularly on these aid workers.” Read More…

Myanmar death toll jumps to 78,000

State run television in Myanmar has reported that the death toll from the recent cyclone has increased dramatically to 78,000. In addition to this, 56,000 people are still officially missing.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert criticized the military junta for refusing to allow a French Navy ship with 1,500 tons of food, drugs and medicine to use small boats to deliver aid to devastated regions in the Irrawaddy delta. Read More…

Ban Ki-moon urges Myanmar to accept Aid Workers

Aid from the United Nations has started to reach Myanmar after a recent cyclone in the region killed tens of thousands. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon released a statement regarding the delivery of aid to Myanmar: Read More…

Myanmar generals have no sympathy for the people

Critics blasted Burma’s military regime for going ahead with plans to conduct a referendum on the country’s draft constitution amidst the devastation and mourning of Cyclone Nargis.

“It is senseless to conduct a referendum while people are filled with sorrow and worries,” said Nyo Ohn Myint, the foreign affairs in-charge of the exiled National League for Democracy (Liberated Area).

Calling the decision “inhuman,” Nyo Ohn Myint said the ruling generals have no sympathy for the people, who are now struggling to re-build homes and finding ways to survive. Read More…